For an uplifting Cape Cod adventure, try parasailing!
But is parasailing, gulp, scary? Kossmann says there are some guests who are hesitant or anxious at first, but those feelings typically float away on the clouds. “Once they realize how calm it is, they can sit back, relax and enjoy the flight,” she says. “I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone go up who wasn’t smiling when they came down.”
Parasailing comes with various built-in safety precautions, and every rider is fitted into a harness and safety vest before they “leave” the boat. Also, the ride is generally smooth—nothing at all like an amusement park ride. “You don’t need to have a white knuckle experience,” Kossmann says. “You can let go and pretend to fly. To be out in the open air like that, with a view, is pretty spectacular.”
Here’s a quick primer on how parasailing works. Following a quick ride from the dock to open water, the crew helps a customer (or two) into a harness and links the harness to the parachute. As the boat picks up speed, wind fills the chute, and “liftoff” commences. The crew starts to let out the line connecting boat to parasail, and the chute climbs slowly as the boat moves forward. The line is 1,000 feet long, but due to forces like gravity and the wind the parasail doesn’t soar straight up. Typically, it reaches an altitude of 300 to 400 feet at a good distance behind the boat. Aloft, the chute floats through the air at about 10 miles per hour through a combination of the strength of the wind in its sails and the power of the boat, which is pulling it in the opposite direction.
The company employs about 20 staff during the summer and several different parachutes in a given day, each with its own size, color and design. The differences are not just for style and creativity, though. As the wind changes throughout the day, the crew unfurls different sized parachutes. If the wind dies down, more sail—and a larger chute is needed (for example, the 40-foot orange one with the skull and crossbones); if the wind is strong, less sail is needed, so the crew hooks up the 33-foot neon green chute with the smiley face, and the extra air vents that help keep it steady. “Windy day or no windy day, you’re going to be soaring,” Kossmann says. “The parachutes are colorful and exciting, and it adds to the whole experience.”
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